Kerala’s Catholic bishops have thrown the ball back into the politicians’ court, urging leaders to say nothing that could disturb communal harmony in the southern Indian state.
“Some statements from political leaders can shatter the harmony that prevails here,” Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios, president of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council, said at the end of a three-day meeting on July 10.
The state’s Marxist chief minister said on June 3 that Christian and Muslim religious leaders may be inciting sectarianism among their people.
Religious minority groups in Kerala have always respected Hindus, the largest community in the state, the Church official said. “But some statements from political leaders are trying to open up a communal divide. It’s most unfortunate,” the Syro-Malankara prelate said.
Allegations that Catholic bishops had mediated to merge two factions of a Christian-dominated political party were baseless, he said.
However, the bishops continue to attract criticism. Thomas Isaac, the state’s finance minister, said his party believes that some Church leaders are trying to promote Christian communalism in the state.
The Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Council comprises bishops from the Latin, Syro- Malabar and Syro-Malankara ritual Churches that make up the Catholic Church in India. A total of 34 attended the Kochi gathering.